Emeritus Trustee and Alumnus M. Lee Pearce Passes Away

By UM News

Emeritus Trustee and Alumnus M. Lee Pearce Passes Away

By UM News
Dr. Pearce, described as “a tough and savvy investor,” was elected to UM’s Board of Trustees in 1993.

Emeritus Trustee and Alumnus M. Lee Pearce University of Miami emeritus trustee and alumnus M. Lee Pearce, an entrepreneur, business executive, philanthropist, physician-attorney, and classical music patron who endowed an academic chair at UM and was an avid supporter of its Frost School of Music, passed away on October 12 at his home on La Gorce Island, Miami Beach.

He was 86.

Pearce, who was born in Philadelphia, Penn., on December 22, 1930, earned a medical degree from Hahnemann Medical College in 1955 and immediately moved to Miami. After practicing medicine for several years, he attended and graduated from the University of Miami’s School of Law.

Known for his financial and business acumen and diverse interests, he built and owned hospitals and medical facilities as well as banks and real estate. Once described by The Wall Street Journal as “a tough and savvy investor,” Pearce was strongly devoted to tradition and to the values he learned from his father, which he called “Pop’s rules.”

He was elected to UM’s Board of Trustees on February 10, 1993, and became an emeritus trustee on April 29, 2011. During his many years of service on the board, Pearce served on the Medical Affairs, School of Medicine, and Investments committees as well as the Ad Hoc Committee to Study Medical Affairs. He also served on the visiting committees for the architecture, medical and music schools.

He endowed a chair in Middle East Peace Studies at UM, which, since 1993, has been held by Haim Shaked, professor of international studies in the College of Arts and Sciences and founding director of the Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies. Pearce also supported the Frost School of Music with endowments for the opera, orchestra, and string programs.

In 1984, he established The Dr. M. Lee Pearce Foundation, Inc., which has contributed to many organizations, including UM, The Metropolitan Opera, the Mayo Clinic, Tufts University, Colburn School, and the Mariinsky Foundation of America.

In 2007, Pearce made a $20 million charitable gift to Fort Lauderdale’s Holy Cross Hospital to help the medical facility establish a comprehensive off-campus ambulatory-outpatient services center.

From New York to Bayreuth, Germany, to Salzburg, Austria, Pearce attended musical performances around the world. He especially cherished his time traveling across Russia via train with Russian conductor and opera company director Valery Gergiev and his orchestra during the annual Moscow Easter Festival.

He held a multitude of directorships and trusteeships, and served as president or chairman of various corporations, associations, and societies. Among them: American Hospital Management Corp.; American Medical International, Inc.; American Hospital of Miami, Inc.; AmeriFirst Bank of Miami; General Health, LP; and North Ridge General Hospital, Inc. of Fort Lauderdale. In 1990 Pearce became the founder and owner of Bank of North America in Fort Lauderdale.

Pearce served as a consultant to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research and to Mayo Clinic ventures in Rochester, Minnesota. He was a member of the Board of Fellows of the Harvard Medical School and served as an honorary director for the Mariinsky Foundation of America and The Metropolitan Opera.